Despite the legal questions raised by this week's private meeting between Attorney General Loretta Lynch and Bill Clinton, many in the press have said they accept that the impromptu 30-minute exchange was totally innocent, and won't bias the probe into Hillary Clinton's email scandal.
"I take [Lynch] & [Clinton] at their word that their convo in Phoenix didn't touch on probe. But foolish to create such optics," CNN contributor David Axelrod said on social media.
Bloomberg News' John Heilemann mused in a panel discussion this week on CBS News, "[N]one of us will never know if all [Clinton] did was just go and say hello. So, I take them for their word it was all perfectly innocent."
Lynch met privately with Clinton in Arizona Monday evening for an off-the-record exchange. Their conversation, which took place aboard Lynch's jet, was first noticed and reported by a local ABC News affiliate, KNXV-TV.
The Attorney General confirmed the exchange Wednesday, but maintained it was purely social.
Democratic and Republican lawmakers have criticized the meeting as inappropriate, explaining it's not a good look for Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton, who is under FBI investigation for her use of an unauthorized and unsecured private email server when she worked at the State Department.
Lynch said Friday that she would go along with whatever recommendation the FBI comes up with in its investigation of Clinton's private emails.
Despite the bipartisan criticism from top lawmakers, however, reporters and media pundits have shrugged at the controversy, with many suggesting that the conversation was indeed nothing more than harmless banter about family.
MSNBC's Chris Matthews, for example, dismissed the controversy, and suggested Friday that the conversation took place mostly because Clinton is just that friendly.
"Yeah, but we know Bill Clinton, he's like — he's the big dog. That's his nickname, d-a-w-g. The Big Dawg. Elvis, he's gushing when you meet him," the cable news anchor said.
"If he's — if you had a hard time with a journalist, he still comes up and says hi. He's — he's very friendly. His tail wags when he sees somebody he knows. It's just who he is," he added.
The New York Times, which failed to mention the story in the first 24 hours after it broke, echoed Matthews' suggestion that the meetup was the result of the former president's overly-friendly personality.
"Bill Clinton's Fondness for Tarmac Talk Gets Him Into Trouble," read a headline published Friday evening, suggesting the former president and attorney simply didn't realize that it might be inappropriate for him to meet with someone who is actively involved in an investigation involving his wife.
ABC and NBC News were also slow to cover the controversy, and made no mention of the issue Wednesday evening (when the story broke) or Thursday morning.
CBS News touched on the story Thursday morning, but its coverage also involved host Charlie Rose characterizing the meet-up as "innocent."
The conversation, "seems on the face of it, simply to be an innocent meeting of two politician saying hello," he said.
His co-host Gayle King asked, "They are at the airport at the same time … Why can't he just go over and say hello?"
On Friday, Bloomberg News' Mark Halperin said the easiest explanation for why Lynch met privately with Clinton is that the former president is a "really social guy."
"The most obvious explanation and probably the right one, is Bill Clinton is a really social guy, right?" Halperin said in an NBC News interview. "And we've all seen situations where famous people on the tarmac, the two planes, it's kind of fun, 'Hey, let's go over and visit.'"
MSNBC's Chuck Todd also suggested that the exchange was likely totally innocent, and that everyone involved perhaps just made a mistake.
"I'm just saying, you know, to assume, we live in a world where everybody is guilty until proven innocent in politics. It's too bad we live in this world," he said. "Everybody has earned this. Whether we like it or not. But let's be realistic. It's very possible how this could happen by happenstance."
But not everyone in media has been so quick to write-off the private conversation as a simple meet-up between two friends.
"What on earth were you thinking?" Washington Post columnist Jonathan Capehart asked Lynch in an interview Friday. "What happened?"
Over at MSNBC, "Morning Joe" co-host Mika Brzezinski took a shot at those in media who've said they believe Clinton and Lynch met for a purely innocent discussion about family, "Okay, well this is why this is never going to be a problem for Hillary Clinton, people are too afraid to talk about the truth and the fact that this was wrong from the get go," she said.
"We'll just move on just like everyone else does. Even though it's a complete sham," she added.